For once, I'm going to link to the author's own comments around the time he wrote the book.http://ryan-field.blogspot.com/2009/11/love-in-which-you-can-believe.htmlThe quote he uses in the blog:from page one, Carl's negativity and his cold blooded attitude toward everything that is good and decent about love and Christmas is chronicled. And he's not well loved by anyone else, either. All the negativity within him, attracts even more negativity to him. is very true.Carl's meanness and negativity is very strongly drawn at the start, almost to the point of caricature, but hey let's face it. The story is about ghosts and morals. Even the original one was way OTT.